ReFo: Vikings @ Rams, Week 1

Sam Monson points out some of the good and bad from Sunday's season opener for the Vikings and Rams.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Vikings @ Rams, Week 1

REFO-WK1-MIN@STLWeek 1 in the NFL season is always something of a crapshoot. Teams that looked good in preseason suddenly lay an egg and those that looked terrible come out of nowhere to prove they’re actually capable units once the games really count.

This, though, was a case of both teams replicating what they did in the exhibition games with the 4-0 Vikings stomping down the 1-3 Rams, who were of course without QB Sam Bradford after he was lost during the preseason. The Vikings always looked in control in this game, though the score line does perhaps flatter them after the Rams were forced to go with Austin Davis once Shaun Hill had picked up an injury.

Minnesota Vikings – Performances of Note

Rhett Ellison, TE: +3.5

Breakdown: There might not be a more underrated player in football, than Ellison, who has quietly become a fine blocker and a capable weapon when called upon. He blocked well all game and then broke out the truck stick on his one 22-yard reception.

Signature Play: Q4, 7:33 Ellison takes quick simple pass and then decides to go all Beastmode on the Rams D, skittling would-be tacklers before he is finally taken down for a 22-yard gain.

Josh Robinson, CB: +3.2

Breakdown: Salvaging the career of the much-maligned Robinson is one of Mike Zimmer’s biggest challenges coming into the job. On this evidence at least he’s on the right track. Robinson was in close coverage all game long and even made plays on the football.

Signature Stat: Robinson was thrown at three times, yielding just one catch for 7 yards while breaking one up and picking another off. Throwing at him in this game yielded a passer rating of 2.8

Blair Walsh, K: +3.3

Breakdown: Upstaging Greg ‘The Leg’ in his own house isn’t an easy job but that’s exactly what Blair Walsh did in this game. Hit both of his field goal attempts, both from 40+ and one from 50+ and was hammering the ball out of the back of the end zone on every kickoff, even completing the crossbar challenge on one kick.

Signature Stat:  Kicked off seven times in the game, six were touchbacks; one was brought out from 9 yards deep in the end zone.

St. Louis Rams – Performances of Note

Brian Quick, WR: 0.0

Breakdown: Let’s start with encouraging signs, because there were a couple in this game for the Rams. Brian Quick looked dangerous and able to get open and make plays. His grade is hurt by getting flagged for pushing off a little too aggressively, but he was the only Rams receiver really threatening to do damage.

Signature Stat: Caught seven of the nine passes thrown his way, falling just a single yard short of 100 receiving yards on the day.

Aaron Donald, DT: +1.8

Breakdown: One more good before we get into the ugly – rookie Aaron Donald flashed the kind of play that made him such a sought after prospect. On a couple of occasions he was too quick for the Vikings’ blockers, shooting into the backfield and killing plays before they got started. Was occasionally wiped out once a blocker got their hands on him, however.

Signature Play: Q4, 9:07 Here Donald blows past Phil Loadholt before the big right tackle can even get out of his stance, dropping Adrian Peterson 6 yards deep into the backfield.

Scott Wells, C: -4.0

Breakdown: This pick could have gone to several of the linemen and Wells is merely indicative of the point that the Rams lost the battle at the line of scrimmage. Badly. Wells was routinely beaten by the Minnesota interior defenders and it made for tough sledding in the run game.

Signature Stat: Allowed one hurry, one knockdown and was flagged for holding during the game

PFF Game Ball

The Vikings had a few standout performances in the game and several players in the running for the game ball, but in the end I’m giving it to Rhett Ellison for his all-around work.


Follow Sam on Twitter: @PFF_Sam

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • Brooks Rogers

    Ellison over Cordarrelle Patterson?????

    • chickenhed

      The reason this site is good is because it does not take into account a few awesome plays. Patterson showed FLASH and TALENT in those plays, to be sure. But this site looks at every single play he was involved in. Even when a ball is NOT in his hands. Don’t use PFF as your only reference site, Mr. Rogers. Use it in conjunction with stats, highlights, personal observations, and scouting reports. When you do that you come to realize this:

      Patterson is an elite talent that showed amazing ball skills in this game. However, he can use some work when he doesn’t have the ball. Run blocking, route running, etc, and being more consistent.

      This site did not say Ellison is a BETTER player than Patterson. It is simply stating that he was more consistent. That is what this site is so good for. Showing consistency of players. If you don’t care about that and want to look at stats and highlights, I would suggest not using PFF.

      • Brooks Rogers

        Patterson was in 45 plays, Ellison 31. Stop being a dick.

        • Aaron

          How exactly was he being a dick? I commend you for finding an excellent football resource but with these kind of posts I wonder if maybe your computer time is almost up and nap time is nearing.

          • Brooks Rogers

            He was being a dick for being incredibly patronizing and condescending, telling me I shouldn’t go to this site when I was asking a legitimate question about something. And you are being patronizing and condescending as well, so congratulations.

          • SeattleSteve

            You warrant his condescension.

    • David Ellison

      I agree Brooks that Codarrelle was the biggest difference in this game. Along with the offensive line this staff at PFF have been busy cutting down, especially Kallil, Ellison did well too. Remember Zimmer doesn’t feel this site is worth any serious consideration. He indicated they don’t know all the assignments he has for his players when they rate (each play). His team won despite these computer nerds. They take it in the chin every time he does well and they sound foolish in “their interpretation” of his players they grade.

      • Aaron Johnson

        I see a lot of other experts and enthusiasts being critical of Kalil too. Maybe its not entirely justified but it’s fair for us to expect more out of a top 5 pick. He looked overmatched last week but I do realize he was going against one of the best d-linemen in the NFC on the road.

        Elsewhere on the o-line I see PFF give excellent reviews. In particular Sullivan, Fusco, and Loadholt.

        And even though Zimmer did seem to suggest PFF’s metrics don’t mean much to him, they did just extend the unheralded Fusco. So I would guess their internal process is also impressed and there is likely some overlap on process.

        • David Ellison

          And how was Kalil against Atlanta Mr. Johnson? I didn’t notice any sacks or much of a hurry in that game? I suppose PFF still down graded him, Bridgewater, McKinnon, Barr, etc.

  • Adam B. Carlson

    Wells had his hands full all day with Joseph and Floyd. Plus, he was dealing with a somewhat unfamiliar quarterback in the second half. Rams fans shouldn’t be too concerned and he should bounce back against the Buccs next week.

    • EdgeRush

      No I think Rams fans have much more to be concerned about than Wells.

  • steve walker

    Josh Robinson looked like Cris Carter catching that pick. Didn’t think he had it in him. Zimmer’s a hell of a coach!

    • J.G. Witcombe

      It was great to see Robinson make the play but even better to see the smart coverage, focus and presence of mind (with both his feet and hands) that led to it. If that’s what he’s going to bring this year, another long-running weakness in the Vikings’ secondary may be over.

    • Aaron Johnson

      That was a great play. I want to see him get an INT inbounds so he can show off that top rated combine speed as he high steps it to the house.